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The Red House, Etherley, Bishop Auckland

17th Durham Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital

Type: Hospital

The Red House was provided by the Stobart family, an influential family who had developed a number of collieries locally such as the Etherley Jane and George pits [at Escomb and Witton Park respectively which were closed by 1915], Chilton colliery near Ferryhill some 10 miles distant, more locally, the West Tees/Railey Fell colliery at Ramshaw [worked by a number of drift mines], Etherley Rush pit and Newton Cap colliery near Bishop Auckland. The VA Hospital, Etherley operated between 18 March 1915 and 15 April 1919. Mrs. Jessica Octavia Stobart was appointed Commandant and over the duration oversaw 9 administration and 97 household appointments [37 domestic and 60 hospital orderlies]. With regard to medical matters, 5 local doctors and 1 chemist could be called upon. Nursing duties were carried out by 41 full-time nurses and part-time assistance from a bank of 157 VAD nursing members.

For much more information on the operation of the hospital, the staff and the patients, please see the following website:

The Fallen of Southwest Durham, page about 17th Durham VAD Hospital:

The following information comes from records held at the archives at the Museum of the Order of St John, and is used with their kind permission. Reference OSJ/1/1/12/14:

VAD Hospital, The Red House, Etherley, Bishop Auckland
September 15th 1917

Commandant: Mrs Stobart (lives in)

Hospital: This is a house which has been lent by Captain Stobart for the purpose of a hospital.

Beds: 84 beds in
6 wards
3 huts

Trained staff: 1 Sister-in-Charge
3 Sisters, 1 night, 1 day sister
1 staff nurse

Massage: 1 visiting Masseuse

VADs: 12 work in shifts, and live in billets near the hospital.

Paid help: 1 Cook
2 Maids
4 Laundresses
2 Charwoman

Remarks: A wing of this house has been given up for the purpose of a hospital. It is in excellent order. The [blank] are drawn from No 1 Northern General Hospital. There is a good hut with a verandah, also revolving huts on the lawn. The kitchen arrangements are in good order, and the patients are well cared for.

Signed: SA Swift

For further information:
Museum of the Order of St John
VAD Hospitals in Northumberland and Durham 1914-1918
Scarlet Finders

Civil Parish: West Auckland

Contributed by Kevin Richardson | Glenys Egglestone | Durham County Record Office